His & Hers: A shifting definition of “reputation”

Photo of flowers in NYC.

Flowers have a reputation for being pretty.

Here’s what comes to mind when I think about reputation, first related to a woman, then related to a man:

  • Rizzo from Grease.
  • A nameless businessman.

Huh. Interesting.

Reputation + Woman

My first thoughts, as a woman, about women, is related to sexuality. Even though I’m a pretty modern lady. I’m even a feminist lady. I’m even someone who gets mighty mad when conversations turn judgmental about what choices a woman makes about her body. But still, I am a product of my culture.

In the novel I’ll be revising this weekend for hours on end, several of the characters are women of a certain reputation. As in, they have had many relationships, encounters, pregnancies, abortions. What will people think of these women? How will they care about them? What may make it easy to dismiss them?

It’s easy to say, Don’t care what people think! What does it matter? Screw ’em all. Except it does matter, because what people think about women influences the legislature they write and the ridiculous bills they pass.

Reputation + Man

Then when I think about the word reputation and man together, I just get a faceless suit who has built some sort of professional bio that people can recite when he walks by. Oh, Bob? He built that department through years of emails and meetings. I really respect him.

Inspired by The Daily Post.